Delaware joins Vermont in working to adopt People First Language (“PFL”) legislation, part of a national movement to promote dignity and inclusion for people with disabilities. PFL specifies that the order of terms used to describe any individual places the person first, and the description of the person second. For example, when using PFL, outdated terms such as “the disabled” would be phrased as “persons with disabilities.” This language emphasizes that individuals are people first, and that their disabilities are secondary.
In compliance with PFL guidelines, House Bill 370 amends current references to persons with disabilities throughout the Delaware Code by placing the person first and the disability second. Also pursuant to PFL, HB 370 removes offensive and/or insensitive language from the Code and replaces that language with respectful language. For example, it replaces antiquated and offensive terms such as “mental retardation” and “mental illness” with more appropriate terms like “intellectual disability” and “mental condition,” respectively.